British Columbia

Canadian breaks own world record for beer mile, gets disqualified for not drinking enough beer

A beer mile requires the consumption of four beers during the course of running one mile.

Track athlete Corey Bellemore holds the world's top 3 times for the unofficial event

Corey Bellemore, 23, holds the world record in the Beer Mile, a competition combining running and drinking beer. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

What happened at the 2018 Beer Mile World Classic is a little like if Usain Bolt broke the world record at the Olympic Games and was then disqualified.

On Aug. 11, Ontarian Corey Bellemore — current world record holder for the beer mile at 4:33.60 — broke his own record by a whopping nine seconds at the 2018 Beer Mile World Classic in Burnaby, B.C.

But then he was disqualified — for not drinking enough beer.

"I did run fast but I also rushed quite a bit," Bellemore said. "I left a bit too much [liquid] and foam in each beer."

Rules and regulations

According to BeerMile.com, an unofficial reference guide for the unofficial sport, each competitor in a beer mile must drink four cans of beer and run four laps around a 400-metre track.

The standard format is to drink one beer, then run one lap.

This seems simple enough, but there are some very specific rules.

Each competitor must drink a can or bottle that is at least 12 ounces (355 millilitres) in volume and each beer must be a minimum five per cent alcohol. No specialized cans or bottles or aids (straws, for example) may be used. Each beer must be opened only during the race.

Competitors get on their marks at the start line for the Beer Mile World Classic. (Beer Mile World Classic)

Most importantly, you must hold down the frothy brew.

This rule is in place primarily in reference to vomiting. Competitors who vomit before they finish the race have to complete a penalty lap at the end of the race. (The organizers graciously concede if you vomit more than once, you still only have to do one penalty lap.)

After the race, officials measure the amount of liquid remaining in each competitor's beer cans. Bellemore said he had around 4.4 to 4.5 ounces (around 130 ml) remaining in the Burnaby race, above the legal limit, thus disqualifying him.

World's fastest times

Bellemore, 23, is something of a beer mile wunderkind. Going into this year's event, the Windsor, Ont., resident was the reigning Beer Mile World Classic champion and he currently holds the three fastest times in the world, all sub-4:40. 

For comparison, the current world record holders for running a mile sober are Hicham El Guerrouj, the men's record holder at 3:43.13, and Svetlana Masterkova, the women's record holder at 4:12.56.

Bellemore says he's not quite sure what makes him so good and he says he does it with "absolutely no training."

"I don't know if it's a gift or what," he said, laughing. "I seem to be able to hold the beer down pretty well and run really fast."

For the moment, the University of Windsor graduate is focused on his track career. He placed third in the 1,500-metre race at this year's Canadian Track and Field Championships.

Bellemore says he'll keep doing the beer mile as long as it doesn't interfere with his serious training.

In the end, getting disqualified from the 2018 Beer Mile World Classic isn't a big deal.

"Obviously, I'm competitive, so it's disappointing in a sense," he said.

"But you've got to put that in perspective ... there are worse things going on in the world, you know?"

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